Tag Archives: work

A Teachable Spirit

A couple-three years ago, I had lunch with an author friend who was in town for a conference. She is a speaker who often counsels beginning writers about craft and process, and that day we were discussing the finer points of teaching/editing grownups. “It’s all about having a teachable spirit,” she said. “You should write […]

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Plagiarizing, A Quick Aside

Dear Author: If your sentence has the exact same structure as that sentence in WaPo, but you just change a word or two … it’s still pretty much plagiarizing. Just sayin’. No, really. Kindly, Your Editor No, really, y’all. This stuff is important. I know you’ve got a lot going on and I know your […]

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Whole-Picture Editing

I’m a pretty organized/obsessive person when it comes to work. I have systems to keep track of current projects, to file work that’s finished, and to keep an eye on tracked changes (I save every version, both incoming and outgoing). It helps me keep my sanity. I read a lot of manuscripts in any given […]

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Just Get a Job!

I never wanted to burden my writing with the responsibility of paying for my life. I knew better than to ask this of my writing, because over the years, I have watched so many other people murder their creativity by demanding that their art pay the bills. … I’ve always felt like this is so […]

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Following Your Own Path

In the eyes of others you have something called a Career. Certain people, should you be lucky enough to have them, like your agent or your editor, will hasten to tell you that what you need now for that career is another novel or another book of the same kind of poems that everyone loved […]

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You Have to Learn to Pace Yourself … Pressure!*

Not long ago one of my authors—I consider her a friend too—gave me a partial glimpse of her to-do list: editing one book for publisher A, writing proposals for new fiction that hasn’t been contracted yet, writing the marketing synopsis for the [not-quite-finished] novella coming out with publisher B this fall, getting ready to launch […]

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Clean, Clear, Uncluttered Writing

Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon. … But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb […]

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Be Careful, Little Mouse, What You Copy and Paste

A few months ago I was hired to provide content for a kids’ activity book that would have a focus on values, virtues, character building … and so on. I’m a parent, but that alone doesn’t make me an expert, so I did a little research—and in every single article, plagiarism was mentioned. Why? Because […]

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The One That Got Away While I Was Sipping Lemonade

This happens to me three or four times a year: I get an email referral from an agent, or someone at a publishing house, or another author I’ve worked with for a job that I would really, really love to have. Sometimes that’s because the publisher is one I haven’t worked with before, sometimes it’s […]

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A Plague on the House of Apple Pages

You’ve been waiting for me to bust a rant, haven’t you? Good! Because I’ve had it with Pages. I learned to use word-processing software in 1990 at the company I then worked for. It was WordStar, and I was working on a PC, back in the days before Windows when you had to interface with […]

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